Donald Trump

Trump whines about NC Gerrymandering ruling during Charlotte visit

He can't understand it of course, but it seems wrong for some reason:

President Trump suggested Friday that there is “something wrong” with a recent decision by a three-judge federal panel in North Carolina that ruled the state’s congressional map was an illegal partisan gerrymander.

“I think it’s unfair with this whole redistricting thing they’re doing in North Carolina,” Mr. Trump told supporters in a Charlotte ballroom. “It’s very unfair you have an election in a little more than 60 days, and they change the district on you? And you’ve gone through primaries.” North Carolina’s population is closely divided between the parties, but the map drawn by the GOP-controlled Legislature produced a 10-to-3 Republican advantage among its U.S. House seats. The court raised the possibility that the state’s 13 districts could be redrawn for the midterm elections. “There has to be something wrong on this,” he added. “I know you guys are working on it.”

Okay, first of all, only one of those "guys" is actually in Congress, the other is a bible-thumping wannabe. But even the guy in Congress really has no standing, because redistricting is done by the state, not the federal government. You know what, I'm just going to stop right there, because arguing with Trump is about as pointless as predicting which way the squirrel will dash when he senses a car approaching. Even when he's almost all the way across the road, that doesn't mean he won't change his mind and run right under your wheel.

Why it's pointless to try to reason with a Trump supporter

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They no longer live in the real world:

What about the criminal troubles of Trump’s former associates, Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen? “It doesn’t bother me in the slightest,” Duffy said. “I voted for him and I will continue to vote for him.”

What about Trump’s oft-documented failure to tell the truth? “He’s been asked questions that he’s been less than forthcoming about, but he’s not the first politician to do that sort of thing. I suspect his competition in the last election has been as untruthful, if not more so. So that’s not going to change my opinion.”

I get why a lot of Trump supporters are still with him, because (pardon me for saying so) they simply don't have the mental capacity to walk to their mailbox without seriously injuring themselves. But this dude got his JD from UNC School of Law, and apparently passed the Bar exam after that. There is simply no easily identified reason for his near child-like devotion to such an irredeemable person:

Populism in opposition to Fascism may be the same (dangerous) road

It may not quench your revolutionary thirst, but Madeleine Albright makes some valid points:

Aside from North Korea, I do not accuse any current government of being fascist. I do, however, see disturbing parallels between contemporary trends and the conditions that gave rise to Mussolini, then Hitler. These include economic disparities, a declining faith in mainstream political parties, the corrosion of public discourse, the defamation of minority groups and a concerted effort by repressive leaders to undermine free expression, pervert logic and distort truth.

A point I've tried to make several times, especially since the rise of Trumpism, goes sort of like this: "If your opposition to an individual or group results in you emulating their tactics, you should take a step back and view it more critically." Some have automatically accused me of weakness, or waffling, or not really caring, which I find especially distasteful. The thing is, we (as Democrats) are not just fighting various battles against regressive policies, we are also trying to define our character as a party. And two of the major traits of that character should be compassion and intelligence, both of which are virtually non-existent in the Republican Party. Here's more, which will likely please and infuriate:

Richard Burr sticks head in the sand over Trump crime ring

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And the irresponsibility reaches an astounding level:

Though some GOP senators expressed discomfort with the the plea deal reached by Trump lawyer Michael Cohen and the guilty verdict rendered on former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, there has been no seismic shift in the GOP after a bombshell Tuesday. Some Republicans attacked Cohen as not credible, some said Manafort’s conviction has nothing to do with Trump and others still said the matter doesn’t fall in their purview as senators.

“I’m not sure why that would change my support for the president,” said Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) of the past day’s events. “He was elected by the American people. Short of impeachment or death, he’s the president.”

Hoo boy, talk about being oblivious to irony. Impeachment would require a 2/3 vote from the U.S. Senate, and one of those Senators just admitted that Trump directing his attorney to violate campaign laws did not even diminish his support of the President one iota. Here's a translation of Burr-Speak: "Until he's impeached, I support him. But I support him, so he won't be impeached." Doesn't get much more Orwellian than that, folks.

Notes from the Kakistocracy: Pollution "watchdog" was lawyer for polluters

This is starting to read like a really bad dystopian future novel:

As a corporate lawyer, William L. Wehrum worked for the better part of a decade to weaken air pollution rules by fighting the Environmental Protection Agency in court on behalf of chemical manufacturers, refineries, oil drillers and coal-burning power plants. Now, Mr. Wehrum is about to deliver one of the biggest victories yet for his industry clients — this time from inside the Trump administration as the government’s top air pollution official.

On Tuesday, President Trump is expected to propose a vast rollback of regulations on emissions from coal plants, including many owned by members of a coal-burning trade association that had retained Mr. Wehrum and his firm as recently as last year to push for the changes.

If Trump was merely "incompetent," his staffing decisions would be bad enough. But we've gone far beyond a lesser (or least) qualified appointee, and into the realm of a "fox in the hen house." And for those who saw a glimmer of hope in the possible rift between Trump and the Koch Brothers, put those hopes back in your pocket:

McClatchy newspapers take Trump to task for "Fake News!" attacks

It probably won't nudge the Deplorables one bit, but it's good to see:

No American president, or any city council member, for that matter, has ever unreservedly delighted in the way he or she was presented in the press. “I so appreciate the accuracy of their reporting on my perceived flaws!” said no official ever. “And good for them for holding me accountable.”

But President Donald Trump has veered into unfamiliar and perilous territory with his unceasing all-out assault on the free press and the First Amendment. Of course, the irony of Trump’s attacks on the “SICK!” and “very dishonest people” in “the fake media” he accuses of purveying, yes, “fake news” is that he himself is a product of the New York tabloids. He’s as savvy about manipulating his coverage as he is adept in undermining it.

Bolding mine, because that explains literally everything about his Presidency. Consider: While Trump himself may have came from money, his main targets of opportunity in real estate scams were the Nouveau Riche. People who were trying desperately to break into the social circles of New York's genuine elite. And nobody showed up more frequently in the high-society pages than Donald Trump, not by accident, but by design. I guarantee you the only time he cracked open the pages of the New York Times was to either check the Dow or if somebody told him there was an article that mentioned his name. Trump not only approved of yellow journalism, he thrived under it, and now he can't even recognize legitimate journalism when it happens. He also doesn't understand the U.S. Constitution:

Trump blames California wildfires on government regulations, not Climate Change

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The sheer ignorance of this man is mind-boggling:

Sunday night, Trump, in his first comments on the wildfires that have raged for weeks, said the fires had been “made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing massive amount[s] of readily available water to be properly utilized.” A second tweet, on Monday, complained that water needed for fighting the fires was being “diverted into the Pacific Ocean.” In neither tweet was there mention of lives lost, the nearly 600,000 acres of woodland so far consumed and the 1,100 and counting homes destroyed.

Dumbfounded state officials dismissed the president’s remarks as nonsense. Daniel Berlant, assistant deputy director of Cal Fire, the state’s fire agency, said “we have plenty of water to fight these wildfires.”

Rivers eventually flow into the ocean. That's what they do, and that's what they have done for probably a couple billion years. Even elementary schoolchildren know this, but apparently Trump missed that somewhere between kindergarten naps and academy bone spurs. And in fact, California already has some 1,400 dams forming lakes, and would be hard-pressed to construct many more. But again, well over our President's head. It's no wonder he simply can't grasp the concept of Climate Change:

Strained Trump logic: Bad mileage = people driving less = safer roads

The revolution in the evolution of fuel-efficient cars comes to a screeching halt:

The Trump administration says people would drive more and be exposed to increased risk if their cars get better gas mileage, an argument intended to justify freezing Obama-era toughening of fuel standards.

New vehicles would be cheaper — and heavier — if they don’t have to meet more stringent fuel requirements and more people would buy them, the draft says, and that would put more drivers in safer, newer vehicles that pollute less. At the same time, the draft says that people will drive less if their vehicles get fewer miles per gallon, lowering the risk of crashes.

Of course this is the propaganda tail wagging the anti-Obama dog. Or the other way around. Whatever the case, getting rid of the fuel efficiency standards was the main goal, and reasons for doing such seems to be more of an afterthought than a driving force. And it's a poorly-researched afterthought at that:

Taking back the U.S. House somewhere between possible and probable

Little Donnie just might have an aneurysm:

A flurry of Republican retirements has led to 42 open seats, many of them the sort of well-entrenched incumbents in competitive districts whose retirements are the most valuable for Democrats. The Democrats have succeeded in recruiting well-funded and strong candidates in many of the battlegrounds, which has tended to lessen the advantage of incumbency even in the districts where Republicans are running for re-election. A court decision in Pennsylvania has eliminated the party’s gerrymander there.

Democrats appear highly competitive in many conservative districts. Already, there are polls showing Democrats ahead in Kentucky’s Sixth District, West Virginia’s Third, North Carolina’s Ninth, New York’s 22nd and Montana’s at-large district. Mr. Trump won each by at least 10 points.

We should issue the obligatory caution about counting chickens before they hatch and go vote, but things are looking much better than I thought they would, even as recently as a few months ago. And it looks like we're making headway in many rural districts, which is fantastic news:

Governor Cooper asks Trump to back off on tariffs

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Defending those NC farmers and producers at risk of economic collapse:

Cooper wrote a letter Thursday to the president telling him retaliatory tariffs against U.S. products by other countries resulting from the administration's increases stand to harm several North Carolina commodity exports.

Cooper mentioned specifically pork heading to Mexico and China and tobacco going to Turkey, China and the European Union. He says North Carolina exports of these products alone to the affected regions are $550 million annually. The governor says rising prices for all U.S. steel and aluminum also increases costs for anyone who uses them in their production processes.

Roy shouldn't have to do this, because this trade war Trump has gleefully engaged in is not a partisan issue. Congress could (easily) pass Veto-proof legislation to halt or limit this activity, but Ryan and McConnell are simply not responsible enough to take the proper steps. Here's more from Roy on what's at stake:

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